Transition Studies Review

, Volume 17, Issue 4, pp 807-821

First online:

Political Efficacy of Emerging Elites in Post-Socialist Countries: The Impact of Disciplinary Culture and Political Opportunities

  • Valentina Dimitrova-GrajzlAffiliated withDepartment of Public Policy, Central European University Email author 
  • , Eszter SimonAffiliated withUniversity of Szeget, European Studies Center
  • , Alex FischerAffiliated withDepartment of Public Policy, Central European University

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Political efficacy is a key determinant of political participation, yet what are the determinants of political efficacy? While the role of demographic and socio-economic factors has been widely studied in this context, less attention has been given to early life socialization and to the aggregate political environment. This paper develops and empirically tests the hypotheses that political efficacy of emerging elites in post-Socialist countries is determined by (1) individuals’ internalized values, which we proxy with the concept of ‘disciplinary culture,’ (2) the structure of political opportunities, measured by the degree of a country’s political competitiveness and openness, and (3) the historical legacy of socialism. Our study contributes to a scarce literature on the topic of political efficacy in post-Socialist countries and to an even more scant literature on political efficacy of young people and emerging elites.


Political efficacy Disciplinary culture Political opportunity structure Early life socialization Socialism Emerging elites

JEL Classification

P2 L3 Z0